Altern Med Rev. 1999 Dec;4(6):438-41.


Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is an ester of the trimethylated amino acid, L-carnitine, and is synthesized in the human brain, liver, and kidney by the enzyme ALC-transferase. Acetyl-L-carnitine facilitates the uptake of acetyl CoA into the mitochondria during fatty acid oxidation, enhances acetylcholine production, and stimulates protein and membrane phospholipid synthesis. ALC, similar in structure to acetylcholine, also exerts a cholinomimetic effect. Studies have shown that ALC may be of benefit in treating Alzheimer's dementia, depression in the elderly, HIV infection, diabetic neuropathies, ischemia and reperfusion of the brain, and cognitive impairment of alcoholism.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcarnitine* / biosynthesis
  • Acetylcarnitine* / pharmacokinetics
  • Acetylcarnitine* / physiology
  • Acetylcarnitine* / therapeutic use
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Animals
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Nootropic Agents*


  • Nootropic Agents
  • Acetylcarnitine